Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Operation Procrastination

"Ahhh, a tea set," you say. Yes, you'd be right there. A toy tea set that I received as a present and that I love, but which, alas, mostly lives on my shelf. So, I began to think of more useful uses for it...

Tea-cup pin cushions! 

With my trusty glue gun at the ready, a pair of old tights and a scrap of material, I set to work. I glued the cup and saucer together, cut up a pair of old tights, wrapped them in a piece of material and glue-gunned the ball of tights and material in place, taking care to tuck in any stickyoutty bits before glueing. You could sew the ball together first, but as I had the glue gun to hand it was the easiest thing to do.

Eggcup pin cushions would very cute too I think, and quite inexpensive. I used old tights for the filling but you could also use polyester. I went with the recycling option; socks would do just as well as tights though, plus you'd get the benefits of exterminating the "lone sock" phenomenon...

The teapot is next... A button-holding teapot? Hmmm.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

These are a few of my favourite teas

As I'm supposed to be studying at the moment, about the only thing I'm making is tea, and the only thing I'm doing is drinking said tea. So, given the name of my blog, I think maybe it's time I dedicated a little bit of time and typing to tea.

My top 3 favourite teas in a bag (this week) are:

1. Barry's Gold Blend - half a spoon of sugar and a drop of milk thanks. Good at anytime of the day or night. Freaking out over exams? Calms you down. Not got enough of The Fear (you know the one -  forces you into action)? Gets you going. Bit too tired? Wakes you up. Bit too hyper? Chills you out. My favourite tea of all time.
Also great for The Chats.

2. Twinings Camomile and Spiced Apple - just delicious. Good before bed and has a nice cinnamon kick to it. Maybe a bit more of a cold weather tea, but as it's a bit chilly today I'll allow it.

3. Twinings Green tea with Pineapple and Grapefruit - to counteract the autumnal tea I just mentioned, here's a lovely spring one. Good for a kick. Zesty, tangy and tasty.

Although I usually get these at the shop, I just discovered (as I attached links), that you can do a tea "pick n' mix" on the Twinings website! How cute!

What's that? You want something to go with your tea? Well, if you're looking for something to go with the already brilliant combination of a nice cup of tea and a sit down then you should definitely click that link, for the most comprehensive compilation of biscuits and cakes known to man (or perhaps more correctly, grannies, as grannies usually have a better selection than men) - including plenty of reviews, a few classics, some biscuits from far far away, and the classic debate on the jaffa cake! It also comes in book form.

(not mine but nicely appropriate, n'est pas?)


(any suggestions for teas to try are most welcome!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Buried Treasure!

Arghhh me hearties, what's this that's been dredged up for the depths of my aunt's cave of wonders? Only a Singer Sewing Machine! Well! Ok, to be honest, she gave it to me ages ago and I said, wow I love it, and then put it away, never to be seen again until now... because, as I've already mentioned, I can only really stitch things back together, not really sew things.

However, inspired by my new sewing kit, I have salvaged it from the wreckage and am going to clean it up, get it fixed and make something from scratch! Madness. I must get some parts though so don't expect an immediate ball gown or anything! 

P.S. it's 106 years old and was made in Elizabeth in New Jersey! I love that the internet could find that out for me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ah the recession... forcing students everywhere to mend things instead of throwing them out. Having spent about an hour rooting through my highly organised room, searching valiantly for a needle and thread (I know I had some carefully stored in some box or bag or something or other in a very safe place...), I realised I needed a sewing box! Now, I can't really sew. But, occasionally, I can stitch things back in place, like buttons or hems or other boring things, so of course I need somewhere to keep needles and threads and buttons and ribbons and other odds and ends...

Anyway, I found a small hat box during my quest and made this. Instructions are as follows: 

1. Find one box - whatever shape you like!
2. Stick things on it - pictures, glitter, pasta, ribbons, whatever tickles your interest! I went with a picture of a lady sewing (how apt) from an old magazine.

3. Lash a bit of PVA glue on afterwards to make it nice and shiny (I haven't done that bit yet, best to do that outside or in a well-ventilated area and make sure you don't accidentally glue it to the table) and keep everything in place happily ever after.

Here's what I put on the other side!

So, anyway, back to the recession - encouraging mending stuff, recycling and make-and-do everywhere (or at least in my room).

(Plus I figured out how to use bluetooth to upload pictures from my phone to my computer - c'est une miracle!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hickory Dickory Dock...

For the longest time, I've wanted to write books. All kinds of books - children's books, adults' books, magical books, serious books, life-changing books, life-lamenting books, heart-warming books, heartbreaking books... Many ponderings of my inner monologue begin "when I write my bestselling, Booker-winning novel I'll..." 

But that's the bigger picture, the happy-ending if you will, when I have already toiled long and hard, and my fingers are worn away from bashing the keyboard, and I'm bleary-eyed from absorption in a world of my own creation... At the moment though, my writing is a long long way from a Booker Prize, and I must content myself with little ramblings and doodles.

However, as I mentioned, I want to write all kinds of books, and besides my much acclaimed, life-changing novel, I also want to write and illustrate children's books. In fact I do, what I mean is I want to get some published. One or two lie in various states of completion hidden in notebooks and word documents and sketchpads, strewn (I say strewn, but it's more for effect, I'm actually more of an organiser by colour, alphabet, size...) higgeldy piggeldy around my studio (ehem... by that I mean two shelves in my bedroom).

Anyhoo, here's the point.

I was asked to illustrate a fully written children's book by another author! I said yes, as any opportunity to add to and widen my portfolio is a good one. The stories are very sweet, featuring two little mice, and are for the bedtime-stories reader/listener. Obviously I can't put up the stories as they are not mine (and it would spoil the surprise!), but here is a little sneak peak at one of my illustrations so far. 

I'm quite excited about it today as the first section of the book has been printed to conduct a bit of market research (5 year olds are harsh critics, wish me luck!) and to send to potential publishers. So far I think it's looking pretty good though and hopefully I will be posting more about this project soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Here's One I Made Earlier

While other projects are in the works/planning stages (I've got one in particular that I'm quite excited about, and it's not major, so expect to see it soon...) I decided I'd put up a few pictures of some paintings I've already done. Some are just for fun, some are for other people; I don't consider them masterpieces but I do like them and my favourite part about painting is that once you finally start you can't stop and get sucked into a dream world of paint and mess and imaginary happenings...

This one is in my room and is probably my favourite. I get little obsessions, so this one was inspired by my obsession with Asian art. At the minute I'm obsessed with elephants, turtles and tattoos - I have been watching too many David Attenborough and Somewhere Ink programs!

Again, Asian art and Tokyo night life inspired, but this time in charcoal and inks rather than acrylics, this one was a gift for someone far away at the time...

A bored-one-day piece. I later added in bits of copper wire to the hair (ah the magic of glue guns) which are probably a little dangerous - visions of my grandmother shouting "you'll lose an eye with that stuff!"

Last one for now! This is one I painted for someone special. The words read:

"I dreamed that, nocturnal, she crept like a cat from nowhere to my door.

Carbon eyes, black browed, vampiric, the thief visits me while stars ink in the new day.

"Stay," I whisper, "You can have anything."

...But she never tried to close the curtain or carry me with her."

I forget where I found them (I actually think it may have been something in the Sunday Times Style Magazine rather than some epic work of English literature) but they seemed like magic to me at the time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stick on the kettle there so.

Today, while reading some blogs, I was inspired to start a blog of my own. Could it be that I have exhausted all other means of procrastination? Could it be some kind of silly self promotion? Or could it just be a nice thing to do while I wait for the kettle to boil? All are possible really. Anyway, here I am saying hello and I'm a nice mixture of nervous and excited. How are you?

So the idea is that although I don't have a lot of free time at the minute, I will soon, and I have a lot of plans for making stuff and doing stuff in said free time. So this will be like a little journal (sort of) about that. Plus I've always wanted to be Mary Fitzgerald (in her make-and-do days on the television, not so much now - I think she's some kind of marketing consultant these days, and I'm not really into that) so here's my chance.

Anyway, in the future this will contain many adventures, a lot of which will involve making and doing things, however right now all I've made is some tea. It's quite good though.